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Everything posted by JazzyMom

  1. It was supposed to take around 10 hours per week, but it was taking my dd much longer than that to complete all of the assignments. The last week dd attended, I counted 18 assignments due for that week. The teacher received several complaints and was planning to adjust the workload moving forward, but I could see the class was more than my dd needed, so she went ahead and withdrew. Thinkwell is taking less than 1 hour per day.
  2. Just an update in case someone finds this thread later... The PAH class did work out for us as the heavy workload did not fit dd’s already full schedule. AP Bio was an add on for her, and she was not planning to take the exam. She dropped the class in favor of Thinkwell, which seems to be a much better fit for her needs (background knowledge in preparation for the college class). The AP instructor seemed good and knowledgeable, but the workload was extremely heavy. A classmate, who had previously aced several APs, later contacted dd to let her know he had also dropped the class due to workload. Also, a friend’s dd is taking DE Bio for Science Majors at the local CC, and the workload was much lighter than DD’s class. I doubt any of my kids will take AP’s again.
  3. Any suggestions for a simple creative program to do with my 9 and 11 yo boys? Ideally, it would be something we could do in a few months or a semester. They are beginning writers. Right now they are just writing a short science essay once per week, and they will probably continue with that through the end of the semester. They are interested in learning to write a short story.
  4. I like doing one book per month for a 9 month school year, so 9 books total with written output for each. The level of book would determine whether it is regular, honors, or AP.
  5. I assign 1 credit per community college course. I do not weight any grades.
  6. I had good experiences using A Beka to teach my kids to read. We use the Handbook for Reading, the Letters and Sounds workbook, and the phonics readers, and I move at their pace - slowing down, if necessary. I’ve used it with 6 kids, and I’m planning to use it with the younger 2, also. I’ve heard good things about AAR, as well, especially for struggling readers. I would consider getting her to a developmental optometrist for the tracking issues. She may need vision therapy. Getting any vision issues thoroughly addressed will make it easier for her to learn to read.
  7. Wow! Your dd did great! My dd isn’t applying to any selective colleges. She *should* be accepted everywhere she applies. We’re really hoping she has a chance at some of the large, competitive scholarships at these schools, so my main concern is about how she’ll stack up against some of these students with tons of AP’s. And you’re right that 1 AP class isn’t likely to make or break that. I am trying not to worry so much.
  8. My dd did sign up for Heapy’s AP Bio class. I never found any reviews. Just praying it works out. I’ll report back, as well.
  9. Thank you. It all feels so fresh, so some days are still hard, but I am glad things are improving. I do want to move forward and focus on what’s going well.
  10. I grew up as the only child of a single mother who was a good, loving mother when capable but who was also periodically in and out of the hospital with mental health issues. Over the years, I have had to make some tough decisions, and I do understand the need for strong boundaries. We’ve unfortunately also been on the other side of it when our young adult child made some decisions that were a disaster for his mental health. We were surprised and confused when he pointed to us as the source of his issues to counselors, friends, extended families, church members, etc. We’re imperfect and made some mistakes, and we listened and apologized for things we felt were wrong. But some of his accusations were (in our opinion) highly exaggerated, and some were quite simply untrue. We didn’t bother trying to defend ourselves to others, but I felt such shame and confusion. I spent so many sleepless nights going over and over his childhood - Was it this? Was it that? Should I have done this or that? Was I a bad homeschooler? Is homeschooling inherently bad? I looked at photo albums, homeschool records, etc. I looked at my other kids who seemed just as happy as their brother had seemed. Were they really happy? I no longer knew what was true. My other teens refused to speak to their brother (despite me encouraging them to). They were angry at his treatment of us and his portrayal of our family. My 17 yo came to me one day and said, “Mom, there’s nothing wrong with anything you’ve done.” Our son is still young and needed us, so we just tried to be supportive. Almost a year has passed since this began. He has apologized and admitted that his accusations were undeserved. He recently showed me some kind of social media post honoring his dad. Last week, he told me he didn’t like all aspects of homeschooling, but he felt it was good for him and he doesn’t say it often enough. He said he hadn’t had a bad experience growing up. He was just going thru some growing pains. Of course, we forgive him. But I still wake up in the middle of the night, recounting everything and wondering where I went wrong. I second guess everything. I struggle not to hold my younger children at arm’s length, knowing this may one day be the outcome. We thankfully have decades long friends who have seen our family up close and supported us through the whole ordeal. But there are some extended family members who did not see our family up close and are sure there is more to the story. We *must* have done *something*. Sometimes there’s more to the story, but not always. Sometimes those seeing from the outside are getting a fairly accurate view. No matter how well we parent, we can’t control our children’s feelings, thoughts, and perceptions, and the result is sometimes hurtful and unfair.
  11. I did not know any of this about Dorothy Sayers. Odd that she is held up as an expert. One thing I thought of re: memory work is that my younger kids really do enjoy it. I have the benefit of having older ones who can tell me what they liked/disliked and found helpful/unhelpful. One day, I asked them what they suggested for Bible for my younger ones, and they surprised me by saying they really liked the catechism question and response booklet we used to practice. So for CC foundations (this was over 10 years ago), we would simply play the CD 15 min or so daily, usually in the car, and they memorized: -geography (states and capitals, identifying countries and major landmarks on a map) -mostly math facts, squares, cubes, with a few simple formulas -Latin declensions (3rd son said he wished he would have memorized these before starting Latin) -English grammar (prepositions, helping verbs, irregular verbs, etc.) None of the above were necessary, but seem to have been beneficial. I actually like having memorized the grammar (prepositions, etc.) along with them because I teach my younger ones the little songs or chants as we encounter the subject matter in their language arts program. So again, teaching the teacher. (Although many homeschool parents don’t need this.) Science and history were where it seemed disjointed and not as beneficial. And again, for littles, I think a park day day can be more beneficial than a co-op. But anyway, my kids do seem to enjoy memorizing and reciting at younger ages. Right now, we’re more focused on longer passages of scripture, poetry, etc.
  12. We have used CC at various levels. I mainly chose it because I always had a baby or toddler (and I still have a toddler now, lol) and I wanted to participate in a co-op that didn’t require me to help teach or clean up. My oldest kids did 3 years of foundations (elementary school level). They did not do essentials. They enjoyed the games, tin whistle, art, science projects, etc. I agree that the memory work is disjointed, but they enjoyed it. We fleshed it out a bit with library books, etc. We liked the other families. We considered it a fun activity. After 3 years, we got busy with other things and moved on. When my oldest was a hs sophomore, I realized he needed more than we were doing at home, so we joined CC again and he did Challenge levels 3 and 4 (a year ahead of the typical schedule). I liked the outside accountability, and he liked the time with peers both in and outside of class. Since he was going, the 2 next joined in. My 17 yo has done Challenge A thru 3. She doesn’t really need CC anymore but will finish out Challenge 4 to graduate with friends. She also does DE and online classes. My 14 yo completed Challenge A and B. Challenge A and B had a lot of fun projects - draw the world, science fair, mock trial, 10 page short story, small research assignments, current events, etc. Nothing I would describe as rigorous, but also things we would not have done at home. Both kids loved it and want their younger siblings to do it, although I’m not sure they will. They both enjoyed Latin (which I wouldn’t have taught at home) and have challenged themselves with things like NLE. They liked being a part of a group and presenting their work to a group. I liked The Lost Tools of Writing program they used for persuasive essays. While the content wasn’t necessarily deep, I do feel they gained skills that have been useful at the high school level. High school has been a mixed experience for us. The science sequence is behind, so my 17 yo is playing catch up this year. I felt there were more novels assigned in Ch 1 & 2 than could be covered well. We don’t prefer A Patriot’s History of the US for US History. The projects and debates were fun. My 17 yo has been with the same group of kids since Ch A, and it’s a great group. But ultimately, CC focused more on things that weren’t as important to us and less on things we found important, so once my 17 yo graduates, we are moving on. My 14 yo will do 3 R’s at an academic co-op and also do DE. I do feel some things I’ve learned from CC have made me a better teacher - mainly how to teach things incrementally and use projects and assignments to build skills. I do not know anything about the administrative or corporate side. It is expensive for what you get, but has been worth it for us for the years that we did it. We needed the structure, accountability, and fellowship the years that we’ve used CC. We probably could have done it in other ways, CC worked for us. I don’t believe it is good or necessary for every family, and I wouldn’t recommend it for a family of only littles.
  13. Thank you for sharing this. Our oldest and only graduate has stumbled a bit, and though everyone else seems to be thriving, the task before me now seems so daunting. With 15 years down and potentially 17 to go, I needed to hear some positive stories.
  14. I hadn't heard of Tang Math before. I will take a look. Thanks!
  15. No, it has not been covered by insurance. They have given me forms I can send to our health insurance to see if it will be covered, but odds are, we won't be reimbursed for much at all. It has been fairly expensive, but well worth the money. My son noticed a difference quickly. The doctor told me to expect to see a difference in his schoolwork at around 20 weeks. At around 14 weeks, I started wondering if it was all a scam, lol. But right around 16 weeks, I saw a dramatic difference. I was always of the mindset that you wait and let kids mature, etc., but this is something I wish I would have done much sooner. He's a bright kid. But I can only imagine how difficult it is to learn when your eyes aren't working properly and you aren't seeing things correctly. I'm very surprised he was even able to learn to read and enjoy reading. My son goes to therapy weekly and does nightly exercises at home. There's also a vision therapist in our area who you see two or three times for evals and do all of the activities at home, so that may be an option in your area, as well. You'll need to start with a developmental optometrist. I'd taken my son to a regular optometrist, and he passed the tests, so I assumed his eyes were fine. I was getting more and more worried as he got older, and a friend whose husband is an optometrist referred me to a developmental optometrist.
  16. My dd is a rising senior and plans to major in premed. She is applying to some programs where science/medical EC's will be important. She has a few science programs on her resume and just got accepted to a shadowing program at a local teaching hospital. She is finishing up the paperwork this week, but likely won't have the shadowing hours complete before submitting all of her apps. How should she show this on her resume? I was thinking she could just say she was accepted to the program on x date and plans to complete x number of shadowing hours in x departments.
  17. Just updating for anyone who may be dealing with similar issues: We’ve been playing the dice and card games recommended in this book, and he’s already made a lot of progress. https://www.amazon.com/Overcoming-Difficulties-Number-Supporting-Dyscalculia/dp/1848607113/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=overcoming+difficulties+with+numbers&qid=1626029427&sprefix=overcoming+diffi&sr=8-3 The book was also helpful for helping me understand how to better teach him. She recommends using magic squares, number bonds, number puzzles, etc. for practice, so I printed a bunch of free stuff from online. So we’ve been doing a couple of games daily and a few worksheets and will stick with that for a few months, then see if he’s ready for the next level of his math program. He has really been enjoying it!
  18. Yes, it does make sense, and I totally agree with you. Dd isn’t applying to any top tier schools, but is working to land big scholarships at schools that I do believe will be a good places for her to grow and thrive. I just want her to be able to accurately show them who she is. I’m glad to hear about your son’s positive experience! Two moms from the board read dd’s essay for me, and they both had the same feedback, which was very helpful. I’m so thankful!
  19. Would any of you who are experienced in the college application process and have had a good outcome with your children be willing to take a look at my dd’s personal statement? She did a couple of sessions with an essay coach, and it seems good to me, but wanted see if I could get a pair of experienced eyes on it to see how it comes across from an outsiders point of view.
  20. Thanks, all. This is helpful! Dd’s resume shows leadership (soccer team captain), community service, part-time job , etc. She has done 2 selective science programs and just got into a medical shadowing program. It all seems pretty self-explanatory, and I figure she will write about some of this when answering short answer questions. Her test scores and transcripts look good. However, the course descriptions are very brief - 1 line each, plus a reading list for lit courses. Math and science were textbooks with labs done at a co-op. DE courses. No special providers. I don’t believe pages and pages of this kind of info will help her much. So I am thinking of using her counselor letter to go more in depth about her homeschooling and describe some of her assignments and projects - showing how she has challenged herself. I also want to weave in some info about the skills she’s developed as 2nd oldest in a large family and also touch on her personality. My rough draft is about a page and a half. She is applying for some competitive scholarships, and I really want to show her as a strong student. Does this approach sound okay?
  21. So with the complete college application packet, all of the pieces (application, essay, resume, letters of rec, transcript, course descriptions, counselor letter) work *together* to tell a complete story, correct? So the counselor letter should not rehash or summarize info from the transcript, resume, etc. And there’s no need for a laundry list of activities in her essay. Is that right?
  22. I looked at some sample STAAR tests online to see if I thought my 9 and 11 yo’s could pass, and I was similarly surprised at the content. So I asked a teacher friend if kids were actually mastering this material at these ages, and she said that STAAR is all politics, and if I want to test skills or see how my kids compare to other kids to use Iowa or Stanford.
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